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Coach Klemmer Is A Nightmare To Play For

(Klemmer used a screenshot from a video to get an unflattering image of me start his blog. I just had to use his profile picture)

I’ll start this blog by saying I do not like Klemmer. 

If you didn’t see it earlier, Chris “Wretched Old Freak” Klemmer wrote a hit piece about me claiming that I was an impossible player to coach in our Barstool Basketball league. He claimed that I was selfish, aggravating, a virus to the locker room, a pain in the ass, and the worst player on the team. 

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Wow that doesn’t sound like Tommy. He’s one of the most humble, egoless, selfless, golden hearted people I know. He’s a real shining light in an otherwise dark world.” All good points. And you may also say, “Wow, that’s a little weird that a coach went to the media and wrote a hit piece against his own player!” You’d have a solid point there as well. But unfortunately this is not surprising. 

It’s just the latest in a long line of examples that prove Christopher Klemmer is one of the worst coaches in the history of organized basketball. At any level. NBA. College. High School. CYO. Intramural. You name it. Few men have had the dangerous combination of: 1. Having absolutely no knowledge of basketball and 2. Having absolutely no respect from the locker room. 

Let’s start with him knowing truly nothing about basketball. Look, I don’t blame the guy. He’s a bigger baseball fan and has never claimed to be Phil Jackson. But I’ll be damned if his incompetency still doesn’t astound me. One of Klemmer’s core coaching values is that he doesn’t like shooting the basketball. Klemmer grew up watching the sport before the 3-point line existed, and he coaches like it never came to be. 

Under his regime, we are not allowed to shoot anything but layups. 3-pointers are essentially banned. He claims “If you take one, you better make it.” It’s fascinating coming from someone who claims to be an analytics guy. Analytics have proven that 3 pointers, especially when wide open, are a highly efficient shot. The Warriors have won a million championships behind that philosophy. Now granted we don’t have Steph and Klay on this team, but we have enough capable players where taking wide open 3-point shots could prove to be a worthwhile strategy. But the second Klemmer sees a player shoot a 3, he gets angry. And he gets even angrier when the shot goes in and proves how flawed his coaching strategy truly is. 

Even wide open midrange shots are looked down upon. Analytics don’t favor mid-range shots, but a wide open shot is a wide open shot. But not under Klemmer’s tyranny. In his eyes, if you’re not shooting from right next to the rim with three guys all over you, then it’s not a shot worth taking. 

Okay so fine, he doesn’t like “shooting the basketball.” But surely he has plays to get the ball to his big boys under the net? Right? Nope. There are zero plays in the Coach Klemmer playbook. Rico Bosco has offered up some, but Klemmer’s immense ego shuts them down. Last game, we had some success with the players on the floor calling their own plays while Klemmer watched helplessly from the sideline, just occasionally shrieking “Don’t shoot that! Don’t shoot that!”

Maybe if we ever practiced, we’d have some plays we could go to when we need a bucket. But Coach Klemmer has never called a practice. We’re lucky if he even shows up for the game. Last week, he showed up 12 minutes before tip-off when the entire had already arrived before him. Maybe a pregame strategy meeting would help. But I guess you can't really blame him when you realize that he has no strategy to implement. 

So we've established that he knows nothing about basketball. But even worse, his players DESPISE playing for him. The general attitude of the team is "Ugh I guess we have to listen to Klemmer" and not "Let's go out there and play for coach!" We don't play for him. We play in spite of him. A lot of us joined this team to just have some fun, play some basketball, and make some content. But under Klemmer, it's become a joyless experience that makes Monday nights feel like a chore. 

We don't play loose under him. Players live in constant fear that one missed shot could get them benched for the game. Others fear that they won't get in the game at all because they merely looked at him the wrong way. He rarely listens for suggestions or accepts any input. It's a complete and utter dictatorship. 

I would say he's lost the locker room, but I'm afraid he never had it to begin with. There are even some ugly claims being made that Coach Klemmer might be sexist based on how little he plays Gia despite her scoring every time she's come in this season. I won't go that far personally. But it's unflattering for him that those claims are even being made. 

And don't just take my word for it. I reached out to players on the team for a quote on what they think about Coach Klemmer. I told them the quote would be anonymous, but it was never going to be anonymous. So here's who said what. 

Dana Beers - “Coach Klemmer doesn’t know anything about basketball when it comes to the actual game of basketball”

Hubbs - "Minimal to zero grasp of how basketball works"

Marty Mush - "Plays like we're in the 60s"

Jack Mac - "I’m not sure who made him the czar of basketball. I’ve never seen him even watch a basketball game. There are players that go in for 45 seconds before he takes them out. The guy reacts to every little mistake. Told us to work on our free throws? We are grown men. When are we gonna “work on our free throws?"

Rico Bosco - "Man treats modern offense like the Amish treat electricity"

John Rich - “Coach Klemmer is the Kim Mulkey of rec basketball coaches. He’ll win you some games, but his flashy outfits, look at me attitude, and unwillingness to accept of players of the LGBTQ community is a stain on Barstool as a whole. And try running an actual offense. Not once has Klemmer bothered to schedule a practice, or buy one of those basketball court shaped whiteboards to draw up plays on. And put on some weight. It’s embarrassing to all of us. Also, just cause the ref is black doesn’t mean you have to show him up every game."

Nick Mulcahy - "Doesn’t know when to sub, relies on players to make adjustments on the fly, doesn’t give Smokes enough playing time, wastes time outs."

Gia - "I'm not really sure if klemmer knows how to coach a team he kinda just says the same thing over and over"

Jenks - "Klemmer is evaluating new players during live gameplay, but only allows 1-4 minutes at a time. He brings in 2-4 substitutes at a time. We have no offensive strategy or principles so new players are setup to come in, play chaotically, and be subbed out immediately. Couldn’t he at least host a proper practice or two, learn his players’ abilities and then use them accordingly? We don’t even have positions. I am not sure if Klemmer ever played basketball, but his substitution rotations make no sense whatsoever. What makes it harder is he doesn’t like feedback"

Billy Football - "Klemmer let’s Dana stat pad by putting himself in the middle of our zone"

Wow. Harsh words. And don't just take it from his players. Even Vibbs, an objective beat reporter for the team, had this to add, "Klemmer writing a hit piece to assassinate the character of an upstanding young player, while he’s on his roster, is a disgusting precedent. This is an issue that needs to be handled within the confines of the locker room."

So while Chris "Maybe Sexist" Klemmer wants to paint me as the bad guy in our locker room, I think it's clear the facts tell a very different story. The truth of the matter is this. Dana B asked me to join the team this season to bring us some energy. I couldn't play last season because of traveling conflicts, but I jumped at the opportunity to do so this time around.

Look, I know I'm not a good basketball player by any means. I'm not asking to start or even play 20 minutes a game. All I'd like to do is play like 10ish minutes a game, take a few 3-pointers, make some content, and most importantly, have some fun with my friends! Sure, there's other ways I'd like to spend my Monday nights. But getting to experience the camaraderie of being on a team with some of my closest pals is an experience I'll cherish for the rest of my life!

And let's not pretend like I'm some albatross to this team. The first game I played for like 2 minutes, got the ball once, and passed it off. I had one lapse on defense where I didn't know where I was playing in our zone, but I'd argue that's way more on our coach for never telling us what scheme we're playing or who has what spot in the zone. And yes I did ask to go in at the end of the game and take the last shot of regulation in a tie game. But that's only because at my try out earlier that day, I displayed a knack for clutch shooting. Dana Beers, the architect of this team and documentary, and many others were pleading for me to go in and take the final shot. But Klemmer shut it down immediately. 

The second game I got in for about 3 minutes. I took one shot, a wide open three that was a good shot selection, and missed it. Sorry I can't hit 100% of my shots! While I know many view me as a Christ-like figure, even I am not perfect. Maybe if I had more playing time, I'd be able to get into a rhythm and make some shots. But one miss, and it's right to the bench you go! (I'd also note that we went on like a 10-2 run the second I was subbed into this game). Then when we were up big for the final two minutes of the game and our entire bench was in, I just simply asked "Hey coach, since the game is basically over can I get in now?" But he once again shut me down. The other players once again begged for me to go in, but Klemmer once again did not listen. 

At the end of the day, it's just nice to know I have the support of my teammates. They know how unfairly I'm being treated. There have even been suggestions that the team is going to march into Klemmer's office and lay down their jerseys on my behalf, "Rudy" style. If I'm not a part of this team, then they don't want to be either. 

But once again, don't just take it from me. I reached out to the team for more "anonymous" quotes about what it's like having me on the team, and here were their responses. 

John Rich - "Tommy Smokes has been a welcome addition to the squad. He’s a great presence on the bench, a confident shooter, and had helped shine a light on some of the issues that have plagued our team in the past."

Dana - "While Tommy most likely adds zero athletic talent to our roster, he is a pivotal part of keeping the locker room a positive place"

Nick Mulcahy - "Smokes brings energy we were lacking last season and creates a buzz when in the game, similar to when the high school manager gets put into a blowout game when the starters are pulled."

Marty Mush - "We have a secret weapon on the bench to make a 3 anytime we need."

Gia - "Tommy always makes the team laugh and is needed for morale"

Hubbs - "Tommy’s fearless nagging of Klemmer is a breath of fresh air"

Jack Mac - “Tommy has been nothing but great since joining the team. He never complains about others. The only thing he complains about is playing time. And who can blame him. HE took one shot and Klemmer acted like he shot a puppy. It was one shot, that was wide open. This isn’t 1930 anymore pal. Learn ball.”

Rico - "Tommy has been an exceptional positive attitude on the team."

Jenks - "Tommy is our best shooter, but he’s buried on the bench because Klemmer hasn’t given him a real shot"

Beat Reporter Vibbs - "Tommy Smokes is a spark plug on the bench, an injection of energy the team desperately needs."

Does that sound like a locker room cancer to you? I rest my case. 

So let me ask you all this. Is it me that's a nightmare to coach? Or is it Klemmer that's a nightmare play for?